Oil Drum Chicken Breasts

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I’m generally not a big fan of boneless, skinless chicken breasts on the grill. For me, they almost always end up being dry and bland. This recipe is reminiscent of the well-marinated chicken you’ll find sizzling on top of old oil drum grills all over the Caribbean. It uses both a marinade and a baste to keep the breasts  juicy and tangy.

4-5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or lime juice
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire or soy sauce
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3-4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1 to 2 teaspoons habanero pepper sauce like Marie Sharp’s

Put the salt and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the garlic is minced. Add the remaining ingredients, except the chicken, and give them a whirl until they are well-combined. This makes just under 2 cups of marinade. Reserve a half cup for basting the chicken.

Put the chicken in a freezer bag and coat with the remaining marinade. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, overnight is better, 48 hours is amazing.

Set your grill up for a direct cook over medium-high (400°F) heat. Put the chicken on the grill and close the lid. Cook for about 5 minutes, then flip and baste with the reserved marinade using a basting brush or mop. Flip and baste every five minutes. Cook for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink in the center, or until you reach 160°F internal.

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Teriyaki Wings

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I like these as a change of pace from our usual buffalo wings.

Teriyaki Marinade

3-4 pounds fresh chicken wings (about 16-24 wings), whole
3/4 cup teriyaki sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1-2 teaspoons sriracha chili sauce (a.k.a. Rooster Sauce)

Apricot Dipping Sauce

1/3 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoons honey
1-2 teaspoons sriracha chili sauce

Preparation

Combine the ingredients for the marinade (minus the chicken) in a large container with a lid. Mix well. Add the wings to the mix, seal, and shake to make sure that they are covered with the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight, turning the pieces occasionally.

Set up your grill for an indirect cook at 400°F. Use a pan under the grate to catch any drippings and further diffuse the heat.

Remove the wings to a plate, reserving the marinade. Put the reserved marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Combine the ingredients for the apricot dipping sauce and refrigerate.

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Put the wings on the grill and cook about 15 minutes, flip the wings, and baste them with the reserved marinade. Repeat every 15 minutes until the wings are done (about 45-60 minutes total).

Serve hot from the grill with the dipping sauce on the side.

Habanero Mojo Criollo

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This Caribbean citrus sauce works wonders as a marinade for meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables. Try to use fresh-squeezed juice as it makes a ton of difference in the taste.

Habanero Mojo Criollo

6 cloves garlic
Juice of 3 oranges (about 3/4 cup)
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
1 Habanero pepper, seeded and deveined (wear latex gloves for this)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Put the salt and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the garlic is minced. Add the remaining ingredients and give them a whirl until they are well-combined.

Pour into a screw-top container (I use a pint canning jar) and refrigerate for at least an hour to give all the flavors time to meld. Shake well before using.

Mojo Chicken

1 3-5 pound roasting chicken
1 cup Habanero Mojo Criollo

Clean and rinse the chicken, then pat it dry. Place the bird in front of you, breast side down. Cut up through the backbone with either a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife. Open the chicken like a book and flip it over so it’s breast side up. Half the chicken by cutting through the breast bone.

Put the chicken halves in a Ziploc bag and coat with the mojo. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, overnight is best.

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Set your grill up for a indirect cook over medium-high (400°F) heat. Put the halved on the grill skin side up. Close the lid and cook for 15 minutes. Flip and cook skin side down for another 15 minutes. Flip skin side up and cook until the internal temperature has reached 160°F in the breast and 180°F in the thigh, about another 30 minutes.

When the chicken is done, remove it to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes. Quarter the bird for serving.

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Simple Chicken

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This is another take on the Chicken & Veggies dish that we tend to make a lot in late summer. I think this one is even a little easier. After spatchcocking the bird (which is easier than it sounds) and slicing the veggies, the cook pretty much takes care of itself.

If you get your grill started first and then prep everything while it heats up, you can put this meal on the table in about 90 minutes flat.

The Veggies
4 red potatoes, quartered
1 large zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground back pepper to taste

Make a vinaigrette by putting the salt and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the garlic is minced. Add the oil, vinegar, and mustard and give them a whirl until they are well-combined.

Lightly oil a disposable foil pan. Add the veggies and cover with the vinaigrette. Mix well.

The Bird

1 3-5 pound roasting chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons of your favorite barbecue rub (I used John Henry’s Texas Chicken Tickler for this batch)

Clean and rinse the chicken, then pat it dry. Place the bird in front of you, breast side down. Spatchcock the bird by cutting up through the backbone with either a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife.

Spread the bird open like a book and locate the keel bone that sits between the breasts. Nick it with a knife to get it to open up, but don’t cut all the way through. Flip the bird over and press down on the center of the bird until it lies pretty flat.

Rub both sides of the bird with olive oil and season with the rub, making sure to work some under the skin.

The Cook

Set your grill up for an indirect cook over medium-high (400°F). Set the pan full of veggies on the grill. Place a small wire rack or grill grate on top of the pan. Lay the chicken, skin side up, on the grate above the veggies.

Close the lid and cook the chicken and veggies for 45 minutes – no flipping, no basting, no checking. After 45 minutes, start checking to see if everything is done. The chicken is done when the juices run clear and the the temperature has reached 160°F in the breast and 180°F in the thigh. Pull the veggies if they finish before the chicken.

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When the chicken is done, remove it to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes. Quarter the bird for serving.

Spatchcocked Chicken with Gremolata

Yeah, it sounds mighty fancy, but it’s just butterflied chicken with a lemon herb marinade. Flattening the bird evens out the cooking so the white meat doesn’t dry out by the time the dark meat is done. The gremolata and the baste add a ton of flavor and keep everything juicy.

Spatchcocked Chicken with Gremolata

1 3-5 pound roasting chicken
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leafed parsley
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Baste

Juice of 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Prepare the gremolata by putting the salt and garlic in a food processor and pulsing until the garlic is minced. Add the remaining ingredients, except the chicken, and give them a whirl until they are well-combined.

Clean and rinse the bird, then pat it dry. Place the bird in front of you, breast side down. Spatchcock the bird by cutting up through the backbone with either a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife. Some recipes recommend cutting out the backbone entirely, but I think that just cutting though it once is enough.

Spread the bird open like a book and flip it over. Press down on the center of the bird until it lies pretty flat. If it won’t flatten, flip the bird back over and use a knife to nick the keel bone right between the breasts and try again.

Put the chicken in a Ziploc bag and coat with the gremolata. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, overnight is best.

Set your grill up for a direct cook over medium-high (400°F) heat. I like using a raised grid on the Big Green Egg to help even out the cooking temperatures.

Prepare the baste by melting the butter and adding the salt and lemon. I really like the Lodge Cast-Iron Melting Pot for this.

Put the chicken on the grill skin side up and close the lid. Cook for about 15 minutes, then baste. Cook for another 15 minutes, then flip and baste. Flip again so the skin side is up and baste. Continue to cook, basting every 10 minutes or so,  until the thighs hit 180°F internal – about an hour total cook time.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into quarters and serve.

Chicken & Veggies

I like this setup for a quick summer meal. The chicken juices drip onto the veggies (making them extra tasty), and the pan full of veggies protects the chicken from direct heat so it stays juicy.

Honey Mustard Chipotle Chicken
4-6 bone-in,skin-on chicken breasts
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped fine
1 teaspoon lime juice

Combine the honey, mustard, salt, chile, and lime juice in a large container with a lid.  Mix well. Place the chicken in the container, seal, and turn until well-coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight, turning the pieces occasionally.

Mixed Veggies
1 large zuccini, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground back pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a disposable foil pan. Mix well.

The Cook

Set up your grill  for a direct cook over medium (350°F) heat.

Set the pan full of veggies on the grill. Place a small wire rack or grill grate on top of the pan. Lay the chicken breasts skin side up on the grate above the veggies.

Close the lid and cook for 30 minutes. Lift the grate with the chicken on it off the of the pan and give the veggies a stir. Add more oil if they are starting to stick. Put the grate back on the pan and flip the chicken. Close the lid and cook until the breasts reach 160F internal (about another 30 minutes).

Herbalicious Chicken

This is yet another grilled chicken recipe that really benefits from the marinade. In this case it’s a simple, tangy Argentinean chimichurri that combines herbs, lemon, and garlic to deeply flavor the chicken and keep it moist.

Ingredients
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 cup fresh Italian parsley
Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
6-8 chicken thighs

Instructions

Put the salt and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the garlic is minced. Add the remaining ingredients, except the chicken, and give them a whirl until they are well-combined.

Put the chicken in a freezer bag and coat with the sauce. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, overnight is best.

Set your grill up for a direct cook over medium (350°F) heat. I like using a raised grid on the Big Green Egg to help even out the cooking temperatures. Put the chicken on the grill and close the lid. Cook for about 10 minutes, then flip. Flip again every 10 minutes until the thighs hit 180°F internal – about 40 minutes.

Buttermilk-Brined Chicken

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Buttermilk makes an excellent brine for chicken. It does a great job of penetrating the meat, so the chicken stays moist and the flavor of the spices go all of the way through.


Ingredients

3 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce (I used Frank’s RedHot Original)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 (3 to 4 pound) chickens, each cut into 8 pieces

Combine the buttermilk, salt, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and spices. Mix well. Add the chicken and turn to  coat. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, turning the pieces occasionally.

Set up your grill  for a direct cook over medium (350°F) heat.

Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and put on the grill. Grill for about 40 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes or so, until the juices run clear or when a meat thermometer reads 180°F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh.

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I served this with baked beans and a Summer-y pasta salad.

Grilled Yogurt Chicken with Tumeric Sweet Potatoes

This marinade produces some of the tastiest chicken I have every grilled, and the sweet potatoes and peppers are the perfect side dish.  Don’t be afraid to use the full 2 tablespoons of salt. It seems like overkill, but the chicken is heavily spiced enough that it really brings out these other flavors.

Yogurt Chicken

1 cup plain yogurt (preferably whole-milk)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Aleppo or Ancho chili powder
1  (3- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces

Combine the yogurt, oil, lemon juice, salt, and spices, then add chicken and turn until coated well. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight, turning the pieces occasionally.

Sweet Potatoes

1 large sweet potato, peeled, washed, and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon dried cilantro

Combine the pepper, onion, oil, lime  juice, salt, and spices, then add sweet potatoes and turn until coated well. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

The Cook

Set up your grill  for a direct cook over medium-high (400°F) heat.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables to a vegetable basket or griddle, reserve the marinade.   Grill the vegetables for about 6-8 minutes, until grill marks appear and they begin to soften. Turn and grill the other side for another 6 minutes. Return vegetables to the reserved marinade, toss to coat and set aside.

Remove the chicken pieces from the yogurt marinade and put on the grill. Grill for about 40 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes or so, until the juices run clear or when a meat thermometer reads 180°F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This is a quick and versatile alternative to grilling plain, old chicken breasts. The stuffing provides a lot of moisture and flavor to what could otherwise be a pretty bland piece of meat. I used a bacon, basil, and Parmesan cheese combination for this recipe. Other tasty combinations include ricotta, spinach, and prosciutto; or mozzarella, deli ham, and parsley.

2 (6-ounce) chicken breast halves
Kosher salt
Lemon pepper
2 slices bacon
2 thin slices Parmesan cheese
4 fresh basil leaves

Set your grill up for a direct cook over medium-high (400°F) heat.

Season both sides of the breasts with lemon pepper and a little salt. Put the breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound firmly with the smooth side of a tenderizing mallet until evenly flattened and about a 1/4 inch thick.

Remove plastic wrap and top with the fresh basil, bacon, and cheese. Roll up tightly and secure with a couple of toothpicks.

Grill the rolls seam-side up for 10 minutes, flip and grill until the rolls are done, about another 10 minutes. They should be golden brown and the inside temperature should be 160°F. Remove to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut the rolls into 1-inch rounds for serving.